The work of Portland, Oregon neo-Americana outfit The Get Ahead is happily free of any specific musical allegiance. The band was formed in 2012 through a mutual affection for classic soul, gospel, and R&B music, with each member bringing a complex but welcoming rhythmic history to the group. As they developed their sound, they began to incorporate folk and pop inspirations into an already intricate mix of influences. The resulting sound is as introspective as it is prone to inspire spontaneous bouts of dancing.
Their compelling, soul-latticed sound is built around the combined talents of singer-guitarist Nathan Earle, singer Juliet Howard, bassist Sean Farrell, drummer Danny Johnson and multi-instrumentalist Angie Johnson. Bluesy vocals mix with a more modern Americana foundation to create an atmosphere of unbridled creativity and inclusive emotional resonance. You can hear the underlying roots-y impulses vying for control with the soulful grooves which have so obviously provided influence over the years. This woven rhythmic complexity is what makes them to consistently fascinating as they adapt and rearrange familiar sounds into something reflective and uncommonly insightful.
The band found a harmonious musical partner in Son Little, the acclaimed neo-soul artist and one of their heroes, when he produced their 2017 EP “Mind is a Mountain.” This fruitful collaboration further strengthened the band’s desire to expand and evolve their sound while at the same time fortifying their core musical instincts. They are currently getting ready for the release of their latest record, “Deepest Light,” which is due out on April 26.
On recent single, “Deepest Light,” the band explores an amalgam of disparate noises ranging from old-school disco tones to indie-folk harmonics and evocative dance-pop rhythms. Buoyed by an upbeat melody and memorable grooves that seem to extend for miles, the track tackles issues of mental health in a way that feels supportive and sympathetic. Filled with wit and substance, the band finds a relatable angle to address these often sensitive subjects.
"I wrote this in response to a series of conversations with a dear friend who was facing a descent into serious mental illness," explains Earle. "It is an argument that regardless of how much someone close to you chooses to keep hidden from you, this concealment doesn’t mean that person isn’t seen and loved."